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2013 Acura RDX

Overview
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2013 Acura RDX Review

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KBB Expert Rating: 7.8

The 2013 model year marks the second generation for Acura's RDX, and it feels akin to a rebirth for this 5-passenger SUV that made its debut six years prior. Now slightly bigger and more powerful – yet lighter and more fuel efficient – the new RDX is better refined and more mature than its predecessor. Among the biggest and best news is that the RDX is now propelled by a powerful-yet-efficient V6 engine instead of the smaller, fuel-thirsty turbocharged 4-cylinder of old. The RDX doesn't have the road-carving dynamics or towing power of some in this category, but its jack-of-all-trades character and overall good nature make it a welcome competitor to rivals like the BMW X3, Audi Q5, Mercedes-Benz GLK and Cadillac SRX.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you're looking for a smaller, premium SUV with plenty of comfort, value, performance, and predicted reliability, put the RDX on your shopping list. In those latter aspects, as well as some styling cues, the RDX may remind you of an upscale CR-V – not surprising, since Acura is Honda's luxury division.

You May Not Like This Car If...

Plan to tow with the RDX? Plan light. The Acura RDX's maximum towing capacity is just 1,500 pounds. The Audi Q5, on the other hand, can lug 4,400 pounds. If fleetness of foot is more your forte, the sportier BMW X3 edges the Acura.

What's New for 2013

Outside and in, from the curvy sheet metal to the soft leather interior, to the engine and even transmission, the RDX is all new for 2013. Acura's goal was to make the RDX a more viable choice for professionals in their early 30s who value comfort over sportiness, and who will eventually need extra room for the baby seats.

Driving the RDX

Driving Impressions A comfortable, quiet ride was paramount for the 2013 RDX, and the Acura delivers. To our welcome surprise, this small SUV went above and beyond, also proving itself a capable...

performer in initial acceleration and passing power. The new V6 is quite smooth and more powerful than we anticipated. For those rare times when more oomph is required, the RDX has a sport mode for speedier acceleration and passing. It doesn't take a whole lot of work to get comfortable in the 10-way power driver's seat, but front passengers might feel like they're riding low, as that seat does not adjust for height.

Power Tailgate/One-touch Folding Rear Seats
These conveniences, with the power tailgate as part of the Technology Package, are super helpful for loading cargo – then getting it to fit.

Push-button Start/Stop
No more digging a key out of your pocket or purse to start or stop the car. Like more and more new vehicles, the driver need only push a button to turn the RDX on or off. That may not sound like a big deal, but over the course of years it will be something to appreciate thousands of times.

2013 Acura RDX Details
2013 Acura RDX photo Interior

The 2013 Acura RDX's cabin is a good example of form meeting function. Yet the RDX still boasts a commendable amount of soft-touch materials, giving this SUV the premium feel (literally) its price warrants. Numerous buttons populate the dash and steering wheel, but they are relatively easy to use and identify, and are more straightforward than the center-console-mounted rotary dials used in the Mercedes GLK, BMW X3 and Audi Q5. Unlike past RDX models – and current CR-Vs – the Acura no longer features tumble-forward rear seats to create a flat floor. But they do fold in a 60/40 split to accommodate larger items. Rear-seat legroom has been improved over the first-generation RDX, and also betters rivals like the Audi Q5, Mercedes-Benz GLK, Volvo XC60, Infiniti EX, and even the Cadillac SRX, whose total length is over half a foot longer.

Exterior

With the RDX's newly refined powertrain also come more grown-up looks. Acura learned from some of its past, shall we say, design controversies with the ZDX and TL, opting to play it safe with the 2013 RDX. On the whole it works, though with its sloping rear roof and teardrop windows, you wouldn't be blamed for confusing the RDX with the CR-V if glancing at the Acura from the side or rear. Thankfully, the RDX's nose signals a different, classier car, as do its prominent fender arches. In addition to being longer than the old RDX, the 2013 model is taller and offers more ground clearance, further giving this revamped vehicle a larger, stronger stance.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

All 2013 Acura RDX models come with a V6 engine, 6-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters, leather seating, rear-view camera, dual-zone automatic climate control, a keyless entry, and a 360-watt, 8-speaker AM/FM/XM/CD system with USB and MP3-player inputs. Also standard are six airbags and a security system.

Optional Equipment

Major options for the RDX are bundled in the $3,700 Technology Package that can be added to either front-drive or all-wheel-drive RDX models. The package includes a navigation system that is spruced up with features like real-time traffic, Zagat Survey ratings and weather forecasting. The tech package also adds a power liftgate and 410-watt premium radio/CD/DVD system with hard-drive storage. A voice-recognition feature allows you to issue over 600 commands for the audio, climate and nav systems – and may just make feel like you're never traveling alone. For those desiring further customization, a la carte options include a wood steering wheel, and roof mounts for sports gear.

Under the Hood

In addition to being the first V6 offered in an RDX, the vehicle's 3.5-liter, naturally aspirated engine boasts another first for Acura: Variable Cylinder Management. The purpose of this system is to save fuel by deactivating cylinders when they're not needed. A V6 uses six of them – hence the name – but this system enables the engine to run on four or even three, essentially making it a smaller, more fuel-efficient power plant. Cylinder-deactivation systems have had a rather tainted past, but today's computer-assisted engine management systems make for a smoother application. How smooth? You probably won't even be aware that cylinder deactivation is taking place in the 2013 RDX.

3.5-liter V6
273 horsepower @ 6,200 rpm
251 lb-ft of torque @ 5,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/28 mpg (front-wheel drive), 19/27 mpg (all-wheel drive)

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2013 Acura RDX Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.4
Out of 10

Based on 55 Ratings for the 2013 - 2015 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.7/10
    Quality
    8.5/10
  • Reliability
    8.9/10
    Performance
    8.4/10
  • Comfort
    8.5/10
    Styling
    8.5/10

Road Noise is extreme

By on Saturday, March 21, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 2,200

10 2.0
overall rating 2 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
2/10
Value
4/10
Reliability
6/10
Quality
2/10
Performance
1/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
2/10

Pros: "sun roof, acceleration, handling in snow"

Cons: "road noise is EXTREME"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1

"I purchased this car because of the Honda/Acura name. I've owned 4 Honda Accords prior to purchasing this vehicle and was MOST excited about having a PREMIER vehicle of the Acura class. I was WRONG. NO previous vehicle I've ever owned / driven is a noisy as this one (trucks included). I was told by one of the tech's at the dealer that the Acura RDX does not have the road noise damping features that are standard on all the other models. WHY??? When I run over manhole covers/bumps in the road there is noise from all areas of the car. I'm considering trading it in for a much quieter ride."

5 people out of 6 found this review helpful

Comfortable, quiet, fun to drive.

By on Saturday, February 28, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 21,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Luxury, reliable, great handling, roomy, fun."

Cons: "no rear vent and power outlet in rear seat."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Really fun SUV to own. Have the 2103 RDX FWD with the Tech Package. Comfortable ride, great handling and reliable. Gas mileage is about as expected 19 city and 27 highway. Nice acceleration when you need it. Quite roomy for small luxury SUV. Only flaw is no air vent in council for the back seat and no power outlet either."

4 people out of 7 found this review helpful

Perfect Balance

By on Wednesday, February 11, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 1,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Strong engine, great space all rows and cargo"

Cons: "MPG low. Not communicative steering wheel"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I have been leasing vehicles every two years for the past 11 years. I like performance, dynamics and reliability. I recently change my BMw X1 for the RDX with Tech. I am very happy. I drove first the BMW X3 and let me tell you, there is a huge difference in price and how comfortable is the vehicle vs the X3. Perfect cargo space, nice cabin and performance. Not everything is perfect, I getting 18mpg in city with the 2wd model. No air vents for the 2 row and steering wheel is not fat enough and does not communicate the path very well as the BMW. Still great price (38K) vs the 50k they asked me for the BMW X3. Resell price Acura beats BMW. Great SUV!! perfect balance between price, features and perfomance"

24 people out of 36 found this review helpful

Acura RDX defines Luxury and Power

By on Friday, February 06, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 12,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Comfort, Power and luxurious interior"

Cons: "None so far"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"The 2014 is the second Acura RDX I've owned and am very pleased with the newer model. Refined interior with leather seats, ELS surround sound system, smooth drive with plenty power."

11 people out of 19 found this review helpful

Bad Choice

By on Friday, February 06, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 20,000

10 2.0
overall rating 2 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
2/10
Value
3/10
Reliability
1/10
Quality
1/10
Performance
1/10
Styling
5/10
Comfort
1/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1

"Don't buy this car. There is a vibration that started at about 5000 miles and getting worse. Transmission or variable cylinders? Acura is no help so far - says it's normal. Also, the ride on rough pavement is punishing."

5 people out of 8 found this review helpful

Great Value

By on Thursday, February 05, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 25,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
7/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
6/10
Comfort
7/10

Pros: "Great value, powerful, rear legroom, smooth ride"

Cons: "No rear a/c vents, fake aluminum trim"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"The RDX is less expensive than all the competing luxury crossovers like the Lexus RX350, Audi Q5, and BMW X3. It feels very quick and light-weight compared to the other vehicles and I like the paddle shifters/sport mode. The seats are very comfortable and there is a ton of rear legroom, even more than the MDX i had last. The car drives very smoothly overall and is quiet. On the other hand, it doesn't have as many luxury features as its competitors. The interiors of the other luxury crossovers feel a little more premium and offer more luxury options and features. I also don't like that in a luxury car, there are no vents for rear passengers. Overall, the RDX was my choice, becuase it was less expensive than the other brands, yet it still was at least as fast as the competitors and very smooth. If money is not a factor for you, then the other crossovers would offer a little more luxury. However, the acura actualy feels sportier than the others."

3 people out of 5 found this review helpful

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Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

Buying this car?